Running her best race of the season on the biggest stage is how Rachel Gowin concluded her cross-country season. On a cool day with temps in the mid-30s at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the sophomore ran among the best 176 runners in Minnesota at the Class A cross-country state meet.
Gowin placed 103rd, with a season-best time of 20:45 on Saturday, Nov. 2. Running a very well-paced race, Gowin found herself in 103rd place among a tight pack of runners at the one mile maker, dropped three places after mile two, but climbed back up three places in the final mile to place 103rd.
Gowin finished the season very well. Hampered by an injury, her first race of the season wasn’t until Sept. 16 where she ran the 5K Pierz, Minnesota, course in 26:12. She got her time down to 22:55 at the Heart O’ Lakes Conference race on Oct. 8.
Two weeks later she dropped another 30 seconds at the Section 6A Meet at the same Pierz course, clocking a 20:51 to qualify for the state meet.
It’s hard to say how a first-time runner at the state meet will respond. If she was nervous, it didn’t show. With a sendoff, long travel, hotels and all the extra hype the event can be a little daunting. Shaving anther six seconds off her time was the icing on the cake. I was so impressed with Gowin’s poise and preparedness.